What’s with this Rain?

Goodness people, I swear I’ve never seen a rainy spring extend this far into June. I know we usually complain about drought, as we may still yet, but we farmers reserve the right to complain about weather any time we feel like it. So now I will let you know what this weather means to us, and thus to you eaters! It’s not so much the actual quantity of water that’s the problem (and we are much drier here in Purcellville than Hana is in Vienna), it that it doesn’t dry up between rains. As keepers of indoor plants, you should have learned by now that plants like to dry out between waterings. They don’t want to wilt. But waterlogged soil invites fungus and makes it hard for the roots to breathe. As major tillers of soil, we need it to become dry enough to “work” so we can continue to plant new plants and seed new patches. This spring has been especially challenging in that regard.

We have a fairly loose plan of where different crops will go as the season begins. Then, the actual on-the-ground factors come into play. “Where is it dry enough to plant?” becomes the key question. Remember that any given field needs to go through a series of processes to go from covered with plants (winter cover crop of rye) to ready to plant a crop. Each of these steps requires dryish soil conditions.

Luckily, this season I have such excellent teammates that we have managed pretty well to continue to plant and sow in the given 10 minutes of perfect soil moisture – quick quick before the next rain comes. It also requires all machines work properly during that exact window of opportunity. So far, no major set backs, just things being on the late side.

Last Friday we enjoyed a full 5 hour pre-market harvest in the pouring rain. This is when you really find out how effective that rain gear actually is. As I told my folks, I’m pretty chipper with mudboots, a felt hat with a brim and rain pants. I get grumpy when the moisture reaches my core (chest and underarms) and then it’s pretty lousy out there. In order to not get stuck in the mud, we picked the load into a trailer (no need to protect from the hot sun). What an beautiful load.

And then after we pick, we need to wash all these greens and pack them up for market. That was two people for 2+ hours! The rest of us picked peas in the mud. My core got wet just in time to call it a day. We were a gorgeous bunch of farmers.

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